Monday, January 25, 2010

Prattsburgh sets hearing on wind farm moratorium

Prattsburgh, N.Y.

Prattsburgh residents will have an opportunity next month to weigh in on issues surrounding a proposed moratorium on wind development in the town.

Prattsburgh Town Supervisor Al Wordingham said the public hearing set for 6 p.m. Feb. 15 is on the town’s comprehensive plan and a proposal made at the regular board meeting last week to set up a zoning board.

A study of the comprehensive plan and possible land use regulations are expected to be the town’s focus during a proposed six-month ban on any wind development-related matters in Prattsburgh. The ban was given preliminary, 4-1 approval by the board during a special meeting Jan. 7.

Wordingham, and councilmen Anneke Radin-Snaith, Chuck Shick and Steve Kula voted for the proposed moratorium. Councilwoman Stacey Bottoni voted against it.

The public hearing will cap a year of increasing tension and lawsuits as wind farm supporters and skeptics argued the merits of allowing wind development in the town. Complicating the issue were claims by wind developer Ecogen their 16-turbine project was ready for construction in Prattsburgh.

Supporters and critics of new board members took three hours last week to air their views, Wordingham said.

“A lot of people I’ve never met say it’s a great idea to be able to have an open forum,” Wordingham said. “So far, it’s worked pretty well, I think.”

Wordingham said the “open forum” extends to Ecogen, which filed a lawsuit in November against the previous town board.

“If they want to sit down with us and discuss things, well, none of us want to shut the door on an economic opportunity for the town,” Wordingham said. “Their big claim is, ‘We want to be your partner.’ Well, my definition of a partnership is where everybody wins.”

The public hearing will be held at the Fire Hall.

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